1:32 Dodge Challenger T/A 1970 No. 77 from Scalextric
May 14, 2014
|Product: The 1970s Dodge Challenger is the newest body style from Scalextric in its line of 1:32 slot cars. This particular model is decorated for car No. 77, built by Ray Caldwell’s Autodyamics Co. and driven by Sam Posey during the 1970 Trans Am season. Posey raced the Challenger alongside the likes of Parnelli Jones, Dan Gurney, Mark Donohue and Jim Hall in what may have been one of the best seasons of professional road racing in the U.S. Although Posey failed to win a single event in No. 77, he did post three third-place finishes and one fourth. The Scalextric’s model is made from metal and plastic and comes ready to run on analog tracks. |
Performance: The Scalextric model captures the look and feel of Posey’s Challenger. The line-green paint (called “Sublime” by the builder) is very close to photographs of the real car, and the markings, stripes and sponsor logos are all crisply printed on the model.
The body shell features a number of separately applied parts, including clear-plastic taillights, chrome bumpers, seats, a roll bar and driver. What’s missing is a dash and dials — noticeable when the car is parked, but admittedly hard to spot when the car is running on the track.
Under the hood, the car is powered by a can motor mounted in the sidewinder position. The car comes with one down-force bar magnet, positioned directly behind the motor. There’s also a magnet position molded into the chassis in front of the motor, so racers can either add a second magnet or move the magnet forward to change the handling characteristics of the car.
The Challenger comes equipped with a digital plug to upgrade to Scalextric’s Digital System. By removing one screw, modelers can open a small door on the bottom of the chassis and install a C8515 plug-in chip.
The one noticeable flaw in the model is the position of the front axle. It sits too far back of the front wheel well. Comparing the car to photographs, the axle should instead be centered in the wheel well. Repositioning the axle would require some modification work on the chassis.
Out of the box, the car runs fair. By adding silicon tires and moving the magnet to the inboard position, the car performs much better. Maxxtrac M06X and Supertires 1102 will both fit the rear rims, and these make for good add-on sales. The car will require additional tuning work, such as adding some weight to the front, adjusting the guide and beefing up the magnet, to be fully competitive.
Marketing: Trans Am subjects from the 1960s and ’70s are always great sellers in slot car racing, and because the 1970 Challenger has not been previously available in 1:32 as a ready-to-run model, it makes it even more collectable. Sam Posey’s eye-catching No. 77 car was also distinctive, and it lives on in the vintage racing world. The car is now owned and driven by Ken Epsman, and I saw him drive the Challenger to a first-place finish in the vintage Trans Am class two years ago at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis.
The Dodge Challenger is a classic ’70s racer and should be an easy sell. You can find more on Sam Posey and this particular car, including some video of it running at Laguna Seca in Salinas, Calif., at http://bit.ly/1iDCTVK.
Personal side note: I had the privilege of having lunch with Sam Posey several years ago, and he told a humorous anecdote that went with this particular car. At that time, it was common practice for Trans Am builders to dip the car body in an acid bath, etching away some of the metal to make the car lighter.
At Laguna Seca, the first race of the 1970 season, all cars went through a rigorous tech inspection before they could race. After passing inspection, the Dodge team offered inspector John Taminus a beer. While talking with the team, Taminus leaned on the roof of the car, and it caved in — having spent too much time in the acid.
To fix it, the Challenger team received permission from Dodge to cut the roof off of a brand-new Challenger sitting on the showroom floor of a nearby car dealer.
The work was completed just before race time, and Posey drove the car for a sixth-place finish.
It’s a great story and could be fun to tell when selling the model.
Product: Dodge Challenger T/A 1970 No. 77
Stock number: C3419
Availability: Hornby America
• Fully assembled
• Accurate painting and detailing
• Easy upgrade to Scalextric’s Digital System